Kim Allen practiced with Gil Fronsdal for a dozen years, and now serves on the Teacher’s Council at Insight Santa Cruz. She has spent cumulative two years in silent retreat, and lived for another two years at the Insight Retreat Center. She has studied the suttas with Gil, Bhikkhu Bodhi, and Shaila Catherine, and offers classes for dedicated students. She has completed the Sati Center’s Buddhist Chaplaincy training program, and is the founder of the Buddhist Insight Network. Her teaching emphasizes the willingness to look truthfully at experience, and to soften in light of what is seen.
From where does speech originate? How does our speech feed back to affect our own heart (in addition to other people)? These are worthy investigations in Buddhist practice. Speech ties back to the three unwholesome roots of greed, hatred, and delusion, as well as the three wholesome roots of non-greed, non-hatred, and non-delusion. Our choices in this realm have a major impact.
What kinds of wealth are most sustainable in times of loss? The Buddha defined five kinds of wealth that are especially appropriate for lay practitioners to develop: confidence, ethical conduct, learning, generosity, and wisdom. The inclusion of “learning” is interesting and not often emphasized. We will explore these five qualities in the context of our current times, considering how they can serve both ourselves and others.
This talk focuses on a style of practice that could be called “training in opposites.” We deliberately engage contrasting functions of the mind in order to broaden and stretch, or opposing viewpoints in order to hone our understanding.
In this talk Kim Allen develops an ecological metaphor to help us cultivate our mind and develop our practice. She outlines four approaches to our practice grounded in terms of natural ecologies:
1) Broadening our focus
2) Revising our notions of good and bad
3) Developing a coherent sense of our goal by creating a healthy ecosystem and then letting go
4) Expanding from our inner ecology and balancing with the outer ecology.
Kim Allen gave the second talk in a speaker series titled "Goals in Meditation." Kim advised that instead of spending time wishing for attending some future goals, we can just do the practice. When we develop and nurture the process of the liberating path, it will naturally lead us to the goal of the path.
Kim Allen gave the third talk in a speaker series titled "Everyday Dhamma." She discussed how money is an important part of our life, as well as a potent realm for practice. Much of what the Buddha said about wealth and money was about our relationship to money, because this is where our suffering and freedom lies. More specifically, we can easily have an unwholesome relationship to our wealth. For example, we can become miserly and crave even more wealth. Or we can establish a wholesome relationship with our wealth, such as supporting our family, our friends, and the Dhamma. In this way, we can relate to money with wisdom and generosity, instead of grasping and fear.
Kim Allen gave the second talk in the eleven-week series "Ten Perfections." She discussed loving-kindness, or Metta, a strength of heart we develop through goodwill, both inner and outer. We develop goodwill through interpersonal relationships, and also through complete acceptance of all aspects of ourself. The path to complete Metta is inward through the heart.
Kim Allen gave the fourth talk in a seven-week series on lesser known Buddhist teachings titled "Thus Have I Heard." This talk explores how practice can be difficult, especially when it helps us become aware of the dark corners of our minds such as fear and dread. Fortunately, the Buddha taught us to train our minds so we won't give in to those tendencies, and instead live a skillful life with wholesome qualities such as generosity, virtue, and loving kindness.
This is the third talk in a 5-part speaker series titled "Balanced Practice". Kim Allen speaks about practice on the meditation cushion and in the world. In the Pali tradition, training in behavior, view, and intention precedes meditation. Hence the transition between the two worlds flows naturally. In the West, we tend to go straight to meditation, and hence ask, "How can I bring cushion practice into the world?" As we balance our practice, we discover how cushion practice can enhance our activities in the wider world and vice versa.